A new documentary series telling the story of Formula 1 through the eyes of Bernie Ecclestone premieres later this month.
The series, called Lucky! will air across a multitude of streaming platforms, including in the UK and Ireland on Discovery+. Manish Pandey, who produced the Senna movie, is the man behind bringing the story to life through Lucky!
The series contains many of Ecclestone’s thoughts through interviews exclusively conducted for Lucky! as well as a rich array of archive footage from the official Formula 1 vault.
Production on the documentary series began in 2020, and I am thrilled to confirm that I have been collaborating with Manish and production company Jiva Maya throughout 2022 to add an additional layer of storytelling to the series.
Formula 1 evolved significantly during Ecclestone’s tenure leading the sport, including on the broadcasting front, with a television revolution.
To help the team tell the Lucky! story, I have been researching worldwide audience data, combined with historical UK television schedule data.
Trying to calculate a global historical F1 audience figure was challenging, but one made possible through hours of research, which viewers can see during the second half of Lucky! from episodes five to eight.
Combining publicly available data (both for the season and individual races) with other insights such as population data and total TV penetration, has allowed us to present a reasonable trend spanning the past four decades.
The trend shows how F1’s popularity boomed during the 1980s, plateaued following the death of Ayrton Senna, before rising again during Michael Schumacher’s reign at the top.
In addition, I curated over 2,000 data points from the BBC’s Genome service, combining them with historical Radio Times television listings sourced from the BBC’s Written Archives Centre and The Library of Birmingham.
The research has allowed us to quantify for the first time how Formula 1’s UK free-to-air television exposure has changed over the past four decades. Keep an eye on the Motorsport Broadcasting site for more in-depth analysis on this front.
From just 40 minutes of live coverage per race in 1988 to nearly 3 hours on average a decade later in the UK, Lucky! shows how the sport changed over the decades.
For me personally, it is the first time ever I have contributed – and been credited – on a Formula 1 television documentary in this way, which is something I never thought I would say.
It has been a pleasure and a privilege to work with Manish and the team on the Lucky! project during 2022, and I would like to extend a massive thank you to them for the kind words of encouragement throughout.
Lucky! premieres in the UK on Discovery+ on Tuesday 27th December, and overseas on platforms including DAZN, Viaplay and ESPN LATAM.
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